UPDATE: The Immigrants’ List Board proposes a simple legislative solution which will substantially increase legal immigration to the United States: ending the State Department’s policy of counting “derivatives” against the worldwide caps for preference immigrants. Congress could substantially mitigate the backlogs across all employment and family preference categories by clarifying that the spouses and children of preference immigrants do not “use up” visa numbers. See full proposal here: LINK
I. ELIMINATE THE THREE- AND TEN-YEAR BARS, AND/OR EXPAND THE AVAILABILITY OF WAIVERS
Under current immigration law, anyone who has resided unlawfully between six months and a year is barred from the United States for three years. That bar goes up to 10 years for anyone who has resided unlawfully for a year or more.
We believe that the three- and ten- year bars should be eliminated altogether. This would eliminate the incentive for foreign nationals who are already residing unlawfully to remain in the United States indefinitely and underground. We also believe that the hardship waivers for the 3/10 bar should be expanded to include hardship to the applicant’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children and to the applicant him or herself. This would keep more families together as well as permit deserving applicants to make their case.
II. ALLOW ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS
Under current immigration law, anyone who has ever failed to maintain lawful status since entry to the United States is ineligible to adjust their immigration status. Elimination of section 245(c)(2) and 245(c)(8) of the Immigration and Nationality act would allow immigrants to adjust their status at any time.
III. A WAIVER FOR ALL GROUNDS OF INADMISSIBILITY
Under current immigration law, there are some 33 grounds of inadmissibility that ban a foreign national from changing his or her immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident and later applying for citizenship. While some discretionary waivers are available for certain grounds and for certain individuals who have close U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family members, the vast majority of individuals have no recourse despite compelling arguments in the person’s favor.
A Purple Heart medaled war hero who previously fell on hard times, bounced a check, and was convicted as an aggravated felon, cannot become a lawful permanent resident even if the U.S. Army seeks to sponsor him for service in a classified mission. No waiver is available.
We believe there should be a measure that permits the Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any basis of inadmissibility upon finding that favorable factors outweigh unfavorable factors.
IV. STOP COUNTING DERIVATIVES AGAINST WORLDWIDE IMMIGRATION CAPS
The Immigrants’ List Board proposes a simple legislative solution which will substantially increase legal immigration to the United States: ending the State Department’s policy of counting “derivatives” against the worldwide caps for preference immigrants. Congress could substantially mitigate the backlogs across all employment and family preference categories by clarifying that the spouses and children of preference immigrants do not “use up” visa numbers.
V. RESTORE JUDICIAL REVIEW
In 1996, Congress passed legislation restricting the ability of noncitizens to have their cases heard before a neutral arbiter in federal court instead of an immigration agency. Under current law, these agency decisions are not reviewable by the federal courts, even in instances where prejudice or failure to consider evidence is present.
We believe that federal courts should have the power to review and reverse deportation orders that are arbitrary, capricious or otherwise contrary to federal law.
VI. ADVANCE REGISTRY DATE
Current immigration law provides that a foreign national who has resided in the U.S. continuously from 1948 to 1972 can apply for permanent residence. This “registry” is available to such foreign nationals who are of good moral character and are otherwise eligible for citizenship. We believe the registry date should be advanced from 1972 to November 2020.
VII. STATUTE OF LIMITATION ON CERTAIN OFFENSES
Under current immigration law, there is no statute of limitations for offenses for the purposes of determining citizenship. This is true even when the offense took place years ago or when the offense was committed unwittingly. There is also a permanent bar currently for misrepresentations even if they are minor and/or accidental like incorrectly completing a computerized immigration form.
We believe there should be a ten-year statute of limitations on certain offenses that would render foreign nationals inadmissible.